|Barked: Sat Jan 27, '07 6:53am PST |
|From Mom about Fred:
I need your help. I have been blatantly discriminated against by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. If you have not read the story - some information can be found on Fred's page (diary entry). In short -my SDit has been banned from my workplace at UMass. Where there problems? Sure - problems caused by my employers stubborn unwillingness to allow me to enforce "do not distract" policies with other student workers - and by their absurd unwillingness to allow me management tools to prevent problems with puppy behavior. (there were a number of loose wires hanging down in the only place Fred was allowed as his "spot" - he was teething - he chewed. PLEASE NOTE: My employers REFUSED to allow me to tape the wires up - baffle them so they could not be chewed, or put a substance like "Bitter Apple" on them despite my repeated warnings that the situations was dangerous to the equipment and to my dog.
FYI : The state of Massachusetts requires full access for SDits - and it is the policy of UMass Amherst to allow dogs who are being raised for SD work full access as well in the hands of their owners/handlers/trainers. (you will find Mass State Laws cited at the bottom of this email) By definition, a dog IN TRAINING will require management tools as he learns. I was forbidden to use these tools.
I repeatedly went to my employers about problems with co workers distracting Fred, and with the fact that here were loose wires hanging down in the only place Fred was allowed to be as his "spot" I was told not to worry about it - it would be handled. I was also forbidden to do any of the simple things i proposed that would have solved the problem without causing any hardship at all on my employers. I repeatedly tried to contact disability services, for their assistance in mediating the problems, and was ignored. I was NEVER ONCE told that Fred was a real problem or that there were things to work out. When *I* addressed the ones I felt were obvious - i was told to stop worrying so much - it would all be worked out. I was never once given the chance to speak my piece - or negotiate in ANY WAY.
On the day that I was contacted (with bellowing over the phone) about Fred no longer being allowed (as predicted he had chewed a Cat 5 cable, when it was discovered I IMMEDIATELY went to the supervisor on duty and told her I WOULD NOT be blamed for something i had been rendered powerless to prevent. As before - I was told not to worry. The next day I received a call from her boss telling me Fred could not return) - I was given THREE HOURS to decide if I was coming to works sans dog or not at all - yet I have not been fired - therefore I HAVE a job I cannot attend, and cannot seek another. (I'm working on finding a way around that one)
An informal demand letter was sent by my lawyer, Melissa M. Loiodice, Esq. Loiodice & Associates - Amherst, MA - it has been blatantly ignored. The process in Massachusetts is thta our next step is to go either to the Attn Gen (the step we have chosen) of the Mass Office on Disability. The Attn Gen has SIX MONTHS to move on this - only THEN do we actually sue. Meanwhile - I do not have a student job and due to PASS PLAN (type of grant for school) constraints - the only way for me to actually get the money I would earn by working is to have a Work-Study job.
My son (also a UMass Student) describes this as a "game of political chicken" ie: who is going to give up first? Well - I pray it will not be me!
HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR ME:
I need publicity at this point. I have tried to play nice and they have plaid me for a fool. ANY blogs - media contact, web pages, and so forth that you can suggest, have access to, or can help me access will be greatly appreciated. As of Monday morning I go to the school newspaper - and the student senate. Local news is next - but I need more. Until today I have not named names. That is over. Please offer any and all forums you can think of.
I will send you more info if you like - just contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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